The Lenadoon cruiserweight talent looked to be looked on course to become a star of the boxing mad city when he beat former British and Commonwealth title challenger Courtney Fry in his home town on the top of a Féile bill back in 2015 before scoring a big win over Jon Lewis Dickinson in Glasgow live on Sky Sports.
A British title final eliminator with Matty Askin didn’t go his way just over a year later and it seems to have turned into a prolonged hiccup.
The fighter, who turns 28 this weekend, then frustratingly saw proposed big fights with Mike Perez and Luke Watkins fall through or not materalise.
The Commonwealth silver medallist would leave Pat Magee and linked up with MTK, but he split with the management company that work with so many Irish stars in recent weeks following another prolonged period of inactivity..
Now the ‘Mac Attack’ is working with Dunlop who has guided James Tennyson to a world title shot, secured Paul Hyland a British tilt and worked well for the likes of Feargal McCrory and Ronnie Clarke.
The MHD boss believes McCarthy can be a player in an exciting division that includes emerging Matchroom talents such as Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain as well as known fighters the Belfast fighter feels he can beat such as Watkins, Stephen Simmons, Askin and Craig Kennedy.
However, Dunlop claims his first job is to get ‘Big Tommy’ back busy and to reestablish his connection to the fanatic Belfast fight fans starting with a clash on the ‘Back in Belfast’ bill on Saturday November 17th at the Shorts Sports and Social Club.
“My immediate goal with Tommy is to get him a fight before 18th November [one year since his last fight] before his is deemed inactive in all the ratings,” Dunlop told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Tommy has done quite bit of his boxing away and I aim to build him up locally where his fans can come and watch him and get behind him.”
The former amateur international is already deemed a British level fighter and with the cruiserweight division picking back up, some have lament his absence.
His new manager believes titles and big fights could come as soon as early 2019, but wants to get the inactive talent to get busy first.
“Tommy has not fought for a title of any sort yet as a professional so that would be an aim of mine for early next year. In my opinion he needs another three or four fights then look at the major titles on offer.”
While three or four fights sounds like Dunlop is going to be patient with a fighter, who has been sparring the likes of Mairis Briedis, Carlos Takam, Beibut Shumenov, and Hughie Fury among others of late, but the manager and promoter seems to want these bouts to play out relatively quickly in a bid to feed a hungry McCarthy some big fights.
“He is a young man in hurry, but I will be pulling the reins back for a little while yet but I am looking forward to 2019 with him.”
“All the lads in the stable are delighted that Tommy has joined the team, by his own admission things have been quiet this year for him and he just want to look forward and not back.”